Calculating Your Losses after a Vehicle Collision in Florida
In order to seek just compensation after an auto accident, you need to calculate your losses.
If you were injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, Florida law entitles you to just compensation for your losses. While this sounds simple enough, the reality is that calculating your claim for damages after an accident can be very challenging. What is “just” under the law? What “losses” are eligible for compensation? Knowing the answers these questions is critical to ensuring that you maximize your financial recovery.
Types of Compensation for Individuals Injured in Auto Accidents
Since you only get one chance to settle with the insurance companies, you need to know what constitutes a fair settlement in your case. Calculating your losses and making sure that you are fairly compensated for those losses are two of the primary reasons to seek legal representation for your auto accident claim. Here is a breakdown of the major categories of compensation that are available:
• Outstanding Medical Bills – You are entitled to compensation for the costs of your medical treatment through the filing of your claim. This includes emergency room expenses, surgery expenses, prescription costs, in-home care, and any other visits to the doctor’s office or hospital.
• Future Medical Expenses – If you will (or may) need follow-up surgical procedures, ongoing therapy or rehabilitation, additional prescriptions or other long-term care, these and other future medical expenses could account for a significant portion of your overall compensation.
• Lost Income – If you missed work as a result of the accident, you can seek compensation for your loss of income. This includes wages, salary, paid time off (PTO) and benefits.
• Lost Future Earning Capacity – In addition to lost income, in Florida you can seek compensation for lost future earning capacity. If you are unable to work as a result of your injury, or if you are forced to take a lower-paying job, this could mean decades of financial losses.
• Personal Property Damage – While this is likely to be a relatively small portion of your claim after a serious accident, it is an important portion nonetheless. Compensation for property damage includes repair or replacement costs for your vehicle as well as your clothes and other personal items.
• Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses – If your injuries mean that you need to hire someone to mow your lawn, clean your house, care for your children or make modifications to your home, these are additional (and potentially long-term) expenses that you can include in your claim for compensation.
• Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering is the first category of “non-economic” loss. Florida law entitles accident victims to seek compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering.
• Scarring and Disfigurement – If you suffered burn injuries, underwent (or will undergo) surgery or experienced any other injury that will result in permanent scarring or disfigurement, this is a separate category of non-economic loss for which compensation is available.
• Loss of Consortium, Companionship and Support – Florida law also provides compensation for losses such as inability to be intimate with your spouse, inability to enjoy time with your children, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Were You Injured in an Accident? Seek an Attorney’s Help Today
If you were injured in a collision, an auto accident attorney can help you enforce your legal rights. Attorneys can deal with the insurance companies for you and can make sure that you seek full and fair compensation for your losses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ginny Powell Stewart
Attorney Ginny Powell Stewart handles auto injury and accident cases exclusively at Powell, Powell & Powell. Having a background in Health Policy, she routinely shows a commitment to providing her clients with the professional and personal attention they deserve. Her prior work history has given her a unique perspective when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and handling personal injury claims.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.